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TAO WellShell presses on in quest for smart isometric workout anywhere

editors-choiceThe Premise. Part of what makes staying in shape such a chore is having to go to a gym to work out. Even with home fitness equipment, it has to be lugged out or take up living space and usually takes full attention as well.

The Product. The TAO WellShell is an unassuming, pocket-sized device that can deliver an intense workout. With customizable settings that can be controlled through the companion app, the WellShell can be an invigorating workout for users of all strengths. As users press the TAO with their hands or against a surface, the WellShell vocally advises the user to apply more or more or less pressure until the right zone is found and held. The exercise works on the same principles as pilates or planking. The WellShell can also monitor heart rate and function as a pedometer.

The Pitch. TAO’s Co-Founder, Philo Northrup, demonstrates how to use the WellShell and talks about how easy it is to use the device to get a workout in anywhere. Another video features people trying out TAO for the first time and realizing that for as simple as the device is, working out with it can be a challenge. Adding to the hype is all of the media attention the TAO WellShell has received, from its CES debut to appearances on Live with Kelly and Michael. TAO is looking for $100,000 to contract manufacturing experts and finalized a sturdy, attractive design.

The Perks. Backers can get a TAO WellShell and the app for $149, half the suggested retail price. A $500 pledge is ideal for trainers who want to make their training program part of the app to monitor client activity, and for $1,000 backers can get a designer WellShell with a handmade white leather cover. The TAO WellShell is expected to be delivered in November 2014.

The Potential. Of course, one doesn’t need a machine to do isometric hand presses anywhere and for a portable product and the vocal nature of the WellShell could be distracting in public without headphones; the product is a little on the hefty side for something that might be pocketable. On its own, it might not be enough to find a home in the crowded home fitness marketplace. However, by showing off integration with product remotes, apps, and even potential gamification, the portability and versatility will appeal to those looking for a cloud-trackable exercise in the office, the waiting room, or at the bus stop by next year.

Michael Radon is a full-time writer who resides in New Mexico and is currently working as Editor-in-Chief on an upcoming magazine about retro video games.